“Blue” States

Two Outliers: Republican Governors In Heavily Democratic States—Larry Hogan In Maryland And Charlie Baker In Massachusetts

In the midst of highly partisan elections being the norm in America under Donald Trump, we have the two outliers that are hard to explain.

In Maryland and Massachusetts, two heavily “Blue” states, we have very popular moderate Republican governors on their way to easy reelection victories.

Maryland, a heavily Democratic state, with strong backing from those living in the Washington DC suburbs, Larry Hogan has a 68 percent rating in his popular support, and is way ahead of Ben Jealous, the African American Democratic nominee for Governor, who was former head of the NAACP. Barack Obama twice and Hillary Clinton won the last three Presidential races by 25 to 26 points in each of those contests.

But somehow, Hogan is seen as an easy victor for a second term. He has 65 percent approval from Democrats, 64 percent backing from Independents, and 81 percent support from Republicans. Hogan has avoided being supportive of Donald Trump, and in fact, has been clearly critical of the President.

Every poll shows Hogan winning, as high as 58 percent, with a undecided percentage being as high as 10-18 percent in some polls, indicating the likelihood that Hogan will win a landslide victory of more than 60 percent in November. Hogan has had to deal with a heavily two thirds Democratic legislature and a Congressional delegation (7 Democrats to one Republican) dominated by Democrats.

Massachusetts, another heavily Democratic state, and a heavily (80 percent) Democratic legislature, and an all Democratic Congressional delegation, yet has had Republican Charlie Baker as its governor for the past four years, and in polls, Baker is ahead of his Hispanic Democratic opponent, Jay Gonzalez, by margins of 52 to 68 percent, depending on the poll. Barack Obama won by 26 and 23 percent, and Hillary Clinton by 27 points in the last three Presidential elections.

Baker has also shown himself to be a moderate Republican who has been regularly critical of Donald Trump, and has had as high as a 71 percent majority of popularity in his term of office, higher even than Larry Hogan in Maryland. One can assume that he will win two thirds or more of the vote on November 6.

So both Larry Hogan and Charlie Baker are outliers, on the way to what is conceived as a “Blue Wave”.

Key Republicans To Defeat: Ted Cruz, Rick Scott, Marsha Blackburn For Senate, And Scott Walker For Governor

As the midterm elections get closer, this blogger sees four key Republicans that he hopes will be defeated, as he considers them the worst of the worst of all Republicans running for office.

In ranked order, the first would be Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who this blogger thought was more dangerous than even Donald Trump during the 2016 Presidential campaign. Cruz is a true monster, a very evil force, hated even by Republicans, due to his arrogance and cockiness and his despicable voting record. El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke is running a very close race against Cruz, and there are many who think that even “Red” Texas is ready to be flipped to the Democrats and O’Rourke, as part of a growing belief that Texas will be “Blue” in future years. Nothing would satisfy this blogger more than to see Cruz retired from the Senate.

Second on the list would be Florida Governor Rick Scott, leaving the Governorship, but running for the US Senate against Democrat Bill Nelson. Scott has been a horrible Governor, and should have been in federal prison for Medicare and Medicaid fraud, and his eight years as Florida Governor have been a horror, setting Florida back, and making Jeb Bush look far better by comparison. He has doubled his wealth despite a blind trust, and is outspending Nelson, but polls indicate the election is close, and this man should not be given a Senate seat, and the fact that he won two terms as Governor by very small margins gives hope that Nelson can pull it out, hopefully on the coattails of Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum.

Third on the list would be Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker, who is after Scott the most disgraceful governor in the past eight years, doing great harm to the past progressive image of the state of the La Follettes, Gaylord Nelson, William Proxmire, and other reform oriented leaders that made Wisconsin a leader in reform. Walker is another arrogant, cocky leader who richly deserves being retired. The Democrats have nominated the State Superintendent of Instruction Tony Evers, and the race is close, based on public opinion polls.

Finally, on this short list is Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, giving up her certain House seat to run for an open Senate seat in Tennessee, created by the retirement of Senator Bob Corker. Blackburn is an obnoxious, insufferable person, as annoying as former Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was in her years in the House of Representatives. Blackburn, however, has a tough competition in former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, who is ahead of her by a good margin, and hopefully, Bredesen, extremely popular, will soundly defeat Marsha Blackburn.

If all four of these Republicans could be defeated, it would be as if one was in heaven, and right now, there is a good chance that all four will lose out, to the benefit of Texas, Florida, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and the nation at large. Additionally, any plans in the future for Cruz or Walker to run for President again, or for Scott to plan to do so, would be gone, if they lose reelection in the case of Cruz and Walker, or election for Scott.

State Politics Much More Complicated Than Often Realized: The Cases Of New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, California

Anyone who follows American politics historically and contemporarily often seems unaware of the complexity of state politics around the nation.

We hear discussion of “Blue” states and “Red” states, but state politics is much more complicated that that.

Gerrymandering often distorts the reality of political loyalties in many states, and also the reality of about one third of voters being “Independent”, rather than loyal to Democrats or Republicans.

There are many examples of this across the nation, particularly noticeable in larger, more populated states.

Just a few examples:

New York State is often thought to be strongly Democratic, but not true in the state legislature, and New York City is vastly different in political culture from upstate New York areas, such as Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany. Even Long Island, Nassau and Suffolk Counties, often reflect different views than the five boroughs of New York City, and within New York City, Staten Island, is vastly different from Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn, with Queens County more balanced than the other boroughs in the city.

Pennsylvania is a state where gerrymandering has given the Republicans until now a great advantage, but new court ordered mandates may change that balance in Congress and the state legislature. Philadelphia has a very different political orientation than western Pennsylvania, often called “Alabama” outside of the city of Pittsburgh.

Virginia is well known to have a very liberal Democratic northern section (often called NoVa), reflecting the influence of being the Washington DC suburbs, while much of the rest of the state is reliably conservative and Republican.

Florida is strongly Democratic in the southern counties, particularly Broward and Palm Beach Counties, with somewhat less so in Miami Dade County due to the influence of Cuban Americans, but even that is diminishing, since it is now 60 years since the rise of Fidel Castro, and those directly affected negatively by Castro, are mostly no longer part of the population in Miami. At the same time, Central Florida is the real battleground in the state, the area that decides most elections. North Florida is much like Alabama or Georgia, its neighbors.

Ohio is strongly Democratic in the northern and central sections, particularly in Cleveland and Toledo, and the capital of Columbus, but in the more rural parts and in southern Ohio, near Kentucky, including Cincinnati, it is strongly Republican.

Illinois is dominated by Chicago in the northern part, but down state Illinois is much more Republican in orientation.

Michigan has Detroit as strongly Democratic but in western and northern Michigan, it is much more rural and Republican.

Texas has Democratic strongholds in the state capitol, Austin, and in Houston, while other portions of this very large state, including the rural areas, are strongly Republican.

California has Democratic strongholds in San Francisco and Los Angeles, but the Central Valley, San Diego, and cities like Bakersfield, where House Majority Leader and possible next Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy resides, are strongly Republican.

The next race for the Speaker of the House could be between two Californians of totally different mentalities–Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield.

A basic reality is that urban areas are always much more likely to be Democratic while rural areas are certain to be more Republican.

Suburban areas are what often decides the politics of a state and in Congress and the Presidential election, as they are the balancing force that determines a state vote, and recently it seems clear the suburban areas, often Republican, are starting to move away from that long time loyalty.

The Key To A Majority Of Democrats In House Of Representatives: Gains In New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Illinois, California

Five “Blue” States for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats have a total of 42 seats of Republicans in the House of Representatives—New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Illinois, California.

All of these states, except Illinois, presently have Democratic Governors, with Bruce Rauner in great trouble in trying to win reelection in Illinois, including the possible Democratic challenger being Chris Kennedy, one of the sons of Robert F. Kennedy.

Five out of nine in New York; four out of five in New Jersey; four out of seven in Virginia; four out of seven in Illinois; and eight out of fourteen in California—these are the vulnerable seats, a total of 25, with the Democrats needing 24 seats to gain majority control of the House of Representatives.

Not all will be won, of course, but some of these Republicans have decided not to seek reelection, which makes their seats even more likely to switch. Altogether, 25 of the 42 seats that are presently Republican in these five states are in play.

of course, there are many other vulnerable seats for Republicans, but if a high percentage of these seats in the five “Blue” states go Democratic, then it is assured that the Democrats will gain majority control in November 2018.

Arizona, Florida, and Pennsylvania also have contested seats that could go Democratic, so the real battleground is the five “Blue” states and these three states that went to Donald Trump.

The Fifty States And Educational Levels

A new 2018 survey of education in the 50 states reveals the following:

The top ten states are found in New England and the Middle Atlantic states primarily–with Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire in New England; Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia in the Middle Atlantic area, with Virginia greatly influenced by the educational level of its Northern Virginia suburbs outside of Washington, DC; and also the states of Minnesota in the Midwest, Colorado in the Rocky Mountain West, and Washington State on the Pacific Coast. All of these top ten states were Democratic states in 2016.

States, including California, Florida and Texas rank lower on educational attainment because of large numbers of immigrants with lower accomplishments due to language barriers, but are rated higher in quality of education ranking. New York, Illinois, Delaware, Oregon and Hawaii are among the states which are ranked in the second ten best states, all Democratic states in 2016.

Meanwhile, the ten lowest states in educational levels are all Southern States, except for Nevada, Oklahoma and New Mexico—Mississippi, West Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee, not at all surprising. All of these ten were Republican states in 2016, except for Nevada and New Mexico.

Notice that the higher educated states are “Blue”, while the lower educated states are “Red”, and this is the basic split within the nation–the educated vs the poorly educated.

Republicans, Normally States Rights Advocates, Now Trying To Limit States Rights On Sanctuary Cities, Marijuana Laws, And Oil And Gas Drilling!

The Republican Party is long famous for promotion of states rights, and their strong stand against national government authority over the states.

Oh, until now, when they are doing their best to LIMIT states rights.

The Trump Administration and the Republicans in Congress are working to undermine “sanctuary cities”, major cities around the nation which are working to protect and support undocumented immigrants from arrest and deportation, as long as they have no criminal record.

Also, with eight states allowing marijuana use, and medical marijuana permitted in many other states, we have Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Trump Administration trying to promote enforcement of penalties, that has led to tens of thousands of people in prisons, for possession and or sale of the drug, when there is no connection between marijuana and crime, or auto accidents, or deaths.

Also, oil and gas drilling off the coasts of the United States, is an attempt to take away environmental rights of mostly “blue” states, but with Florida, under Republican Governor Rick Scott getting special dispensation on the matter, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie working with Democrats to prevent such drilling off of New Jersey shores. But all the other states, along the Atlantic Coast, from New England to Georgia; the Pacific Coast; and Alaska should also have the freedom and authority to ban such energy exploration as detrimental to the environment.

When one compares the “Red” States and how they are governed, to the “Blue” states and their greater progress and open mindedness, it is as if we have two nations, and the Republicans are becoming so extreme that a chasm has developed between them and the Democrats.

Off Shore Drilling Prevented In Florida By Rick Scott Intervention: Time To Prevent All Off Shore Drilling On All Coasts Of United States!

The Trump Administration and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke have called for open offshore drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, and in the waters surrounding Alaska, a violation of past environmental policies.

Favoring the oil and gas industries over the preservation of our coastlines is an outrage, and all Governors of the states affected have protested, rightfully.

But already, Republican Governor Rick Scott of Florida, who plans to run for Bill Nelson’s Senate seat this fall, has joined Nelson and Republican Senator Marco Rubio in pressing for leaving Florida out of the offshore drilling edict, and the Trump Administration and Zinke have caved in, clearly for political reasons.

But that is not enough, as all states with ocean shoreline should be freed from this cave in to the oil and gas industry, and we do NOT need such exploration of our oceans, and too many oil spills and accidents have occurred, which kill of ocean life and pollute the waters.

The problem is that most of the coastal states are “blue”, or Democratic states,in New England, the Middle Atlantic, and the Pacific Coast. This includes Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, with only the latter three being Republican states, as is Florida. The Pacific Coast states include Washington, Oregon, and California, along with Hawaii and Alaska, with all but Alaska being Democratic states. Alaska, Florida, and California are the top three in coastline waters.

This should not be a political issue, and the fight to protect our wetlands is one that must be fought in a vehement, no holds barred, manner.

It should also include any new drilling in the Great Lakes area and along our various river systems, as we need to move toward alternative sources of energy, as so many nations in Europe, particularly Germany as an example, are doing.

Puerto Rican Migration To Florida In Two Months 200,000, Double Original Estimate: A Harbinger Of Florida Turning “Blue” In Future Presidential Elections

The effects of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico will change future Presidential elections, with the Democratic Party winning the state in future contests for the White House.

Puerto Rico is losing a substantial portion of its citizenry due to the slow and inadequate response on the island to this natural disaster by the Trump Administration.

Some Puerto Ricans, all of whom are citizens of the US, and can register to vote immediately, have migrated to New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, but the vast majority, more than 200,00, double the original estimate, have moved to Florida, preferring warm weather.

Most have settled in Central Florida, in the Orlando and Tampa areas, with the Puerto Rican population having multiplied since the 2010 Census, while a lesser number have moved to South Florida.

As long as these citizens register and vote, the largest number will vote Democratic, and in close races for the White House, that can make a difference, and it could also, over time, affect state elections for Governor and other executive offices, as well as the state legislature.

When Florida becomes reliably “Blue”, it will add 29 electoral votes in the 2020 Presidential election, and more than that once reapportionment of seats based on the 2020 Census, and in time for the 2024 and 2028 Presidential elections.

And when the Hispanic vote of any part of Latin America becomes larger and reliably Democratic, except for Cuban Americans then Georgia, Arizona, and eventually Texas will be “Blue”, and the Republicans are doomed on the Presidential level.

Only by voter suppression and discrimination will the GOP have a chance to win, and one can be sure they will use every imaginable tactic to prevent Hispanic voting, so Democrats have to work incessantly to insure that Hispanics are not denied the right to vote, including law suits to stop this disgraceful tactic of the party that, more than ever, represents the Tea Party mentality.

Time To Move Against Electoral College Distorting Popular Vote, Through National Popular Vote Interstate Compact Agreement

The issue of the Electoral College having failed to elect the popular vote winner of the Presidency for a total of five times now, and twice in the last 16 years, continues to plague us, particularly when the present incumbent of the White House lost the popular vote by the biggest margin yet, 2.85 million votes.

There is no other political election in America where the person with the most popular votes is not the winner of the election.

The Founding Fathers might have seen the Electoral College as a necessary bulwark against mass popular control at the time, but once we began having popular votes in the 1824 Presidential election, it was an advancement of democracy, and the idea that a popular vote loser would win the Presidency was appalling.

It happened in 1824 in a four person race, but then, it occurred in 1876 with a two person race, and then in 1888, again with a two person race.

Since it did not happen again for more than a century, it was assumed to be flukes that would not happen again, and over the years of my teaching career, I was often asked whether it would happen again, and I responded, that while it could happen, it was highly unlikely that it would.

And then came the Presidential Election of 2000, where George W. Bush won with Supreme Court intervention stopping the recount in the state of Florida, winning that state over Al Gore by 537 votes out of six million cast, and therefore barely winning the Electoral College, despite a 540,000 popular vote lead nationally of Al Gore.

In 2016, the situation was even worse, as Donald Trump won by very small margins in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, and lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton nationally by 2.85 million popular votes, so five and a half times the popular vote lead for Clinton over Trump as compared to Gore over Bush in 2000, but Trump winning the Electoral College, but only 12 national elections with a smaller electoral vote majority out of a total number of 58 national elections.

The problem is trying to end the Electoral College by constitutional amendment is dead upon arrival, as it requires a two thirds vote of the House of Representatives and a two thirds vote of the Senate, followed by a majority vote in both houses of state legislatures (except in the one house of Nebraska) in three fourths of the states (38 out of 50). Clearly, that will never happen, particularly with Republican majorities in both houses of Congress, and four of the five times that the Electoral College failed, the ultimate winner was a Republican, and the loser each time was a Democrat.

But the alternative is the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact Agreement, developed in recent years, with 10 states and Washington DC with 165 electoral votes agreeing by legislation that they would support the popular vote winner nationally, instructing their electors to do so. The problem is that the 10 states and DC are clearly, at this point, Democratic or “Blue” states—California, DC, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington State.

Once states with 105 additional electoral votes agree to pass such legislation, it would go into effect, but that is the more difficult matter. At this point, 12 states with 96 electoral votes have had one house of the state legislature agree to such a law—Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma,and Oregon. Also, two other states have had committees in the state legislature approve it unanimously, with these two states—Georgia and Missouri—having 27 additional electoral votes.

So if all these states that have taken partial action completed the process in the next few years, we would have 24 states and DC, with a majority of the total popular vote and population, being capable of awarding the Presidency to the winner of the national popular vote, and this would end the idea of a popular vote loser becoming President.

Republican reliable states—Arkansas, Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Missouri—are part of this group, but the question is whether they will take the steps to put it into effect.

While there is no certainty this will ever happen, there is optimism that it will eventually occur, as otherwise, the possibility of a return of 2000 and 2016 is highly likely in the future, and not just once.

If this were to occur, it would promote a truly national Presidential campaign, instead of the present focus in recent decades on 12-15 states, and ignoring the clear cut “Blue” and “Red” states in favor of the “Purple” or “Swing” states alone.

Sunbelt States (Texas, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina) Will Make Rust Belt Mid West (Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio) No Longer Factor In Future Presidential Elections By Mid 2020s And After

In the midst of constant rehashing of the 2016 Presidential Election results, one point is being lost by political observers.

The nation is changing demographically very rapidly.

What happened in Virginia on Election Day this year is a sign of the future. Suburbanites, women, minorities, white collar educated, those under 45, and Independents swung over massively to the Democratic Party.

Those trends are not temporary, but permanent, as the older generation, which tends to be more conservative, dies off over the next decade, and the percentage of more educated people grows, and as the percentages of Latinos and Asian Americans start to change Sun Belt states.

So the near future is clearly that the states of Texas, Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina will turn Blue, while the Rust Belt Mid West, not as populated with the groups that helped to make Virginia as Blue a state as it is (Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio) may go back and forth from Red to Blue, but in the Electoral College, the Rust Belt Mid West will matter much less than it did in 2016, assisting the victory of Donald Trump.

So one can say with a great amount of assurance that by 2024 or 2028, the Democrats will have the electoral advantage in the Electoral College, and are unlikely to lose it, as the Republican Party continues to alienate even their base of less educated and rural voters, and as the Sun Belt turns Democratic long term.

Of course, as part of this transition, the Democratic Party needs to move to the Left, be more progressive and liberal,and not come across as a moderate alternative to the Democratic Party, as that is the future of the party, to act more like it is the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt or Lyndon B. Johnson. This is what the groups which helped the Virginia victory desire for the future.